Former UW Coach Bubba Morton Dies At Age 74

Jan. 18, 2006

SEATTLE - The Seattle Times reported today that former Washington baseball coach Wycliffe 'Bubba' Morton, has passed away at the age of 74, after a long illness.

Morton, who played seven seasons in the Major Leagues, became the UW's first African-American head coach in any sport when he took over the baseball program prior to the 1972 season.

Morton was born in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 13, 1932. He graduated from Armstrong High School in 1950 and, after a stint in the Coast Guard, attended Howard University from 1954-57, earning two varsity letters each in baseball and football.

According to the Times, Morton was the first African-American player to be signed by the Detroit Tigers, though others preceeded him to the big league club. He made his debut with the Tigers in 1961 and also went on to play for the Braves and Angels during his career. Over 451 career games, he batted .267, playing primarily as an outfielder. In his best season, he batted .313 in 80 games as an Angel in 1967.

In 1963, during a brief stint with the Milwaukee Braves, he was the roommate of future Hall of Famer and home run king Hank Aaron.

Morton, who was working in the UW security division and as a physical education teacher at The Bush School after his playing career, was hired by athletics director Joe Kearney before the 1972 season and he spent five years as the Husky head coach.

After his tenure at the UW, the Times article reports, Morton spent the majority of the rest of his life as a Seattle resident, working for Boeing and serving as a Coast Guard reservist.

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